WABC could be (almost) all syndicated shows

Dave Tomm nostaticatall@charter.net
Wed Nov 26 16:12:54 EST 2008

The problem isn't the audience being driven away.  The problem is the  
talk audience is dying off.  They are rapidly aging into the 55+  
demo.  Look at WRKO.  Their 12+ numbers are respectable (even though  
the Sox have something to do with them) but their 25-54's are terrible  
outside of Howie.  Talk stations on FM have done a bit better 25-54  
than their AM counterparts but again, those stations are also 55+ heavy.

Talk radio is going to have to re-invent itself.  The younger demos  
want nothing to do with it.  Unlike the young voters of 25 years ago  
that tended to be more conservative, today's younger demos tend to  
skew more toward the Democrats and are culturally diverse.  That  
spells long term trouble for a format that tends to be very hard to  
the right--and lily white.  Younger potential listeners are more apt  
to get their political analysis from surfing the blogosphere or  
downloading shows from liberal minded hosts onto their I-pods.  Just  
like traditional oldies and classic rock, there's a diminishing return  
to talk radio as each year goes by.  Local hosts may help some, but  
more hacks like Howie Carr criticizing every Democrat while  
apologizing for every Republican--local or national, isn't going to  
bring in younger listeners.  Hosts that can honestly debate the issues  
of the day without spewing talking points (from either side) could get  
some traction.  However, that would mean re-inventing the format which  
could turn off existing listeners.  Since the industry is more  
concerned with short term results rather than long term planning, it  
means that you'll hear more of the same, syndicated hard right drivel  
24/7.  Eventually the stations will crater out as the angry white  
middle aged men who listen to it die off.  Then they'll have to  
rebuilt it from scratch.  The next generation of talk listeners may  
have moved on to new technologies by then.  Sad.

-Dave Tomm

On Nov 26, 2008, at 2:55 PM, Dan.Strassberg wrote:

> But the real question is whether operators can cut costs faster than
> they are driving the audience away. As long as national issues, such
> as the economic collapse, are what people are interested in, I'd say
> that syndication is a winning strategy. But when local issues become
> paramount, syndication seems like a loser to me. What can syndication
> do that sat-casting can't do at least as well? When local stations
> cease to provide local content, they cease to have a raison d'etre.
> The only reasons for people to tune in to local signals are inertia
> and that--what is it now, $17/month per receiver?--that Sirius/XM
> charges.
> -----
> Dan Strassberg (dan.strassberg@att.net)
> eFax 1-707-215-6367
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Dave Tomm" <nostaticatall@charter.net 
> >
> To: "Alan Tolz" <atolz@comcast.net>
> Cc: "BostonRadio Mailing List"
> <boston-radio-interest@rolinin.bostonradio.org>
> Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2008 1:47 PM
> Subject: Re: WABC could be (almost) all syndicated shows
>> Operators don't want to pay them anymore.  Producing a local show is
>> expensive.  You have to obviously pay the talent (quite a bit if
>> they're good) and also a producer and an engineer.  In this economy
>> this just doesn't make sense.

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